Perched on the northern shore of Lake Geneva, Lausanne enjoys wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. Its proximity to Geneva makes it the perfect getaway for a romantic evening, as the city offers a selection of great bistros and restaurants, from local haunts to haute cuisine and gourmet delicacies. This is the ultimate guide to eating out in picturesque Lausanne.
One of the oldest restaurants in Switzerland, La Pinte Besson was opened in 1780 by a local wine merchant. It still retains much of its original atmosphere, as the merry guests, heavy wooden benches and stained glass decorations come together to create a unique dining venue in the heart of old Lausanne. The cuisine offers few, but well-picked, typically Swiss dishes, with fondue and entrecote remaining firm favorites among guests. While the fondue is served with a variety of deliciously fresh meats and combines varied flavors, the grilled beef entrecote presents an assertively rich portion of succulent, melt-in-the-mouth meat. La Pinte Besson’s character makes it both understated and fabulous, and certainly an unmissable stop on Lausanne’s culinary trail.
Rue de l’Ale 4, Lausanne, Switzerland, +41 (0) 21 312 5969
Part-café, part-chocolaterie, Le Barbare is a true institution in the heart of Lausanne’s old town, at the foot of the Notre Dame cathedral. Though the venue does not have an extensive menu, it offers a so-called petite restauration – a variety of snacks, quick meals such as the croque monsieur (grilled cheese and ham sandwich) and tasty cakes. What Le Barbare is most famous for, however, is the chocolate. Velvety and full of texture, rich, creamy and deliciously indulgent, the hot chocolate maison is an unmissable treat in a country so famous for its chocolate industry. In the summer, Le Barbare takes to the streets and opens its beer garden, where green parasols and pink roses guarantee a wonderful afternoon in the shade of the impressive cathedral.
Escaliers du Marché 27, Lausanne, Switzerland, +41 (0) 21 312 2132
Art-deco charm and shabby chic form a great duo at Café de Grancy. The bistro is always buzzing with young, trendy guests who come here to enjoy the delicious food and laid-back atmosphere. And although ‘informal’ is part of Café de Grancy’s philosophy, the menu offers a sophisticated symphony of flavors. The salmon tartare sprinkled with coriander and avocado or the prawns and calamari spiced up with ginger, sesame seeds and mango make the perfect entrees. To satisfy more than just the petit faim, try the special truffle menu, where succulent beef fillet is served with a port reduction, and the creamy foie gras terrine sprinkled with aromatic truffle oil. In fact, the cafe’s shop offers prime quality artisanal foie gras to take away – a perfect gift for the most discerning of gourmets.
Av. du Rond-Point 1, Lausanne, Switzerland, +41 (0) 21 616 8666